Before addressing the main subject of today’s semon, Huzoor (aba) wished to elaborate on previous week’s sermon, which was related to the importance of the recitation of durood sharif in the month of Muharram by the Shia and the Sunni of one another. The news in the media has provided even more evidence to what Huzoor (aba) had stated in this regard. We should remember that both parties fighting against one another are included in the Muslim Ummah, and the Holy Prophet (saw) said that a Muslim is someone from whose hand and tongue others are safe (Muslim). If we follow this practice, bloodshed and many conflicts can be prevented. The protection that the Holy Prophet (saw) granted the Muslims is of such great degree that if one recites the Kalima, even if it is done so under pressure, he becomes a Muslim and no one then is allowed to kill or persecute him. Therefore, the groups who claim to be Muslims, yet are fighting with one another really need to understand the meanings of durood sharif, so that conflicts can be prevented and peace re-instated.
On the other hand, the subject of recitation of durood sharif is also directly linked to the status that is granted to the Promised Messiah (as) by the Holy Prophet (saw) himself, as he was included as the highest among the spiritual family of the Holy Prophet (saw). Regarding Imam Mahdi, our beloved master (saw) said: "When you see him (Imam Mahdi), then certainly perform bai’at to him even if you have to crawl over your knees through snow-clad mountains because he (Imam Mahdi) will be the Khalifa of God." The Promised Messiah (as) claims that such an esteemed status was granted to him as a result of the immense love he had for the Prophet (saw) and due to the amount of durood sharif he recited. The vision that the Promised Messiah (as) experienced where Hadhrat Fatima (rz) holds his head in her lap (reference to previous week’s Friday sermon) also points to the fact that he was included in the spiritual family of the Holy Prophet (saw). At one occasion, when the Promised Messiah (as) was sick, before his claim to Messiahship, it was revealed to him that he should recite the durood. This is yet another evidence that the Promised Messiah (as) is linked directly to the Holy Prophet (saw) in the eyes of God and the Holy Prophet (saw) himself. Huzoor (aba) reminded that the Jamaat Ahmadiyya thus becomes greatly responsible to recite the durood sharif abundantly because we believe in the Imam of the day, who was part of the Holy Prophet (saw)’s family. In view of the current Palestine/Israel crisis taking place and resulting in the immense loss of life in the Palestine camp, Huzoor (aba) expressed his point of view saying that no Muslim nation has voiced any objection against this brutal injustice being done. At a couple of occasions, when such an objection has been raised, polite and cowardly statements were made which amounted to no voice at all. In contrast, some groups in the western countries have voiced strong condemnations against Israel and made powerful demonstrations. It appears that Muslim nations have become insensitive to a degree beyond imagination to the perils of their brothers, and therefore, it is incumbent on the Jamaat Ahmadiyya to abundantly recite the durood sharif in order to help the Muslim Ummah and supplicate to God, as supplication is the only weapon to achieve the victory of Islam.
Huzoor (aba) then turned towards the main topic of today’s sermon which is to announce the new year of Waqf-e-Jadid. Huzoor (aba) presented the duties of Muslims in terms of financial sacrifice in view of Quranic teachings. Huzoor (aba) first recited the following verse:
“As to the men that give alms, and the women that give alms, and those who lend to Allah a goodly loan — it will be increased manifold for them, and theirs will also be an honourable reward (57:19).”
The Promised Messiah (as) elaborating on this verse has said that God does not need money, but He takes it upon Himself to reward those who make sacrifices in His cause to express his love for such people. Therefore any sacrifice made for the sake of God is greatly valued by Him, especially the sacrifice that is made for the sake of propagation of religion is highly valuable in God’s eyes, on the condition that this is done purely to please Allah. Those who make such sacrifices are rewarded by Allah, and we witness and experience this in our daily lives, which in itself is a favor of God for those who enter the bai’at of the Imam of the day. Ahmadis should always be grateful to Allah, and it is a result of this gratitude that we progress in financial sacrifices despite the difficult economic situations. We must never become negligent in our worship or our financial sacrifices, or in any other commandments, because a purposeful life is one that is lived to attain nearness of Allah. Huzoor (aba) then recited the following verse:
“Know that the life of this world is only a sport and a pastime, and an adornment, and a source of boasting among yourselves, and of rivalry in multiplying riches and children. This life is like the rain the vegetation produced whereby rejoices the tillers. Then it dries up and thou seest it turn yellow; then it becomes broken pieces of straw. And in the Hereafter there is severe punishment, and also forgiveness from Allah, and His pleasure. And the life of this world is nothing but temporary enjoyment of deceitful things (57:21).”
It is only Jamaat Ahmadiyya that is making significant sacrifices in the world today, whereas other Muslims spend extravagantly on futile customs. At this point, Huzoor (aba) also drew the attention of Ahmadis that they must not forget their objectives of Bai’at as a result of peer pressure. If we give into such pressures, we will be amongst those who are inclined towards worldly pursuits, which take us away from the objective of our creation and therefore, we will fail to become the recipients of Allah’s blessings. God tests His people by giving to them, and then wishes to see how that wealth is spent. If spent in the way of God, rewards are reaped. However, if spent in worldly pursuits, then we must remember that this is a temporary abode. God paints a picture in the Quran likening this to a beautiful lush field of crop, whose owner is relishing the profits of his harvest. However, before the crop can be harvested, it is destroyed by strong winds or other natural disaster. This is a parable to teach the Believers that worldly pursuits are but a way to despair. One who forgets God will reap only punishment. Huzoor (aba) then recited the following Quranic verse:
“Vie with one another in seeking forgiveness from your Lord and for a Garden the value whereof is equal to the value of the heaven and the earth; it has been prepared for those who believe in Allah and His Messenger. That is Allah’s grace; He bestows it upon whomsoever He pleases, and Allah is the Lord of immense grace (57:22).”
It is the duty of a Believer to seek forgiveness from God and as result, to attain paradise in form of receiving special favors and blessings of Allah in this world and again, in the Hereafter. When one experiences these favors in this world, then his belief in the rewards of the Hereafter becomes even stronger, where the rewards are limitless.
When a companion of the Holy Prophet (saw) asked where is Hell, when Paradise extends over the entire universe. The Holy Prophet (saw) stated that paradise and hell are but two states of the soul and they co-exist in the same space; it is the spiritual state you find yourself in that will determine hell and paradise for you. May Allah enable us to continuously receive His bountiful favors, Ameen. Huzoor (aba) reminded us the importance to recite the following prayer:
‘Our Lord, let not our hearts become perverse after Thou hast guided us; and bestow on us mercy from Thyself; surely, Thou alone art the Bestower (3:9).’
In context of this verse, Huzoor (aba) re-emphasized that we should never feel that these financial schemes are burdensome and too heavy on our pockets. It is indeed a favor of Allah that the Jamaat of the Imam of the day has been likened to that of the early days, and we should pray that the spirit of sacrifice is instill in our future generations as well. The Promised Messiah (as) has said that making financial sacrifices is a way to improve the condition of one’s faith, which can only be achieved through sincerity and love for the cause. All those who enter the fold of Ahmadiyyat should pledge to make financial sacrifices as well.
Huzoor (aba) said that those Ahmadis who have become firmly rooted in the Jamaat are exemplary in their sacrifices, but there is a shortcoming among the new-comers, which has resulted due to a weakness in the efforts of local Jamaats. Where efforts have been invested, results show tremendous outcome. It should be remembered that it was a mere favor of Allah that He enabled you to become an Ahmadi, therefore, newcomers along with children should be encouraged to participate in financial sacrifices. If greater efforts are invested, especially in increasing the numbers of participants, then results will be more fruitful InshaAllah.
On this note, Huzoor (aba) announced the beginning of the new year of Waqf-e-Jadid, and revealed the total collections from last year as £2 575 000. The country-rankings are as follows:
1. Pakistan – 10,000 new participants. Huzoor (aba) said that the majority of Ahmadis in Pakistan are poor, yet their sacrifices are immense. It is mentioned in a Hadith that the reward for giving one dirham has exceeded the reward for giving 100 000 dirhams. An explanation of this is that a person had two dirhams out of which he gave one dirham in charity. On the other hand, there was another person who had a lot of wealth. From all this wealth, he gave 100 000 dirhams. The difference in reward between these two persons is that despite the first person possessing only two dirhams, he gave half of all his wealth in charity, i.e. one dirham. As for the second person, despite his giving 100 000 dirhams in charity, he received a lesser reward because this 100 000 dirhams which he gave were less than half his entire wealth. Huzoor (aba) expressed his admiration as to how these people, in Pakistan and in African countries, meet their expenses after making such financial sacrifices. May Allah reward them with the choicest of His blessings, Ameen.
2. USA – 256 new participants, but collection decreased by 80 000 (Huzoor (aba) did not specify unit of currency), making the total number of participants to 8 276. Waqf-e-Jadid collections from wealthy nations are used for publication purposes and other projects in the third world countries, therefore, they should try to increase their pledges along with the number of participants. Huzoor (aba) said that the increase in number of participants in the US this year is due to the efforts of Nasirat and Atfaal.
3. Great Britain – an increase of 86 000 (Huzoor (aba) did not specify unit of currency) as compared to the previous year. 1 382 new participants, making the total number of participants to 14 519. The Jamaat here is making great progress in this financial scheme.
4. Canada – an increase of 180 000 (Huzoor (aba) did not specify unit of currency) as compared to the previous year. 378 new participants, making the total number of participants 13 325.
5. Germany – an increase of 25 000 Euros, and the number of participants decreased by 1 387, due to emigration.
6. India – an increase of 170 000 (Huzoor (aba) did not specify unit of currency) as compared to the previous year. Huzoor (aba) drew the attention of India Jamaat and other Jamaats from African countries to try to become financially independent, in view of the global economic situation, where it might not be possible for other countries to support them in the future.
7. Indonesia – increase of 25 000 (Huzoor (aba) did not specify unit of currency) as compared to the previous year. 829 new participants.
The top-ranking countries in terms of financial contributions per capita are as follows:
4. Great Britain
The top-ranking African nations in terms of financial contributions are as follows:
3. Burkina Faso
5. Sierra Leone
Total number of participants worldwide are 537 000. Since reports have not been received from all countries, this number does not reflect an accurate figure. Huzoor (aba) said that efforts should be increased in encouraging children (by Jamaat and parents) and new converts to participate in these blessed financial schemes, even if they contribute a small amount. Huzoor (aba)mentioned that countries in the Middle East are also make progress in financial schemes and then listed the top-ranking local jamaats in Great Britain, USA, Pakistan, Germany and Canada.
In the end, Huzoor (aba) prayed that may Allah cause the wealth of all those who made these financial sacrifices to increase. May Allah enable Jamaat to progress and may the efforts of Jamaat be fruitful. May Allah enable every Ahmadi to gain in His nearness. May Allah enable us to supplicate and accept our humble prayers. Ameen.